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Xi’an Sep 20 Live Events: Aku Wuwu, Xi Chuan & Jia Pingwa

By Bruce Humes, September 17, '20

To celebrate its opening in Xi’an, Fangsuo Xi’an Creative Union (西安方所创联中心) will host a month or so of cultural forums/salons during mid-September to mid-October.

Poets Aku Wuwu (阿库乌雾) and Xichuan (西川) will appear together Sunday Sep 19 at 15:00-15:30, and Aku Wuwu will recite his long poem 《火颂》in the Yi language. Renowned Shaanxi novelist Jia Pingwa (贾平凹) is scheduled for some time during 16:00-18:00, if I interpret the poster correctly . . .

Venue: 西安市 莲湖区 星火路 22 老城根 G-Park 商业街区 1-F 68 商铺

For more on all the events during Sep-Oct info in Chinese visit here.

If that link downloads too slowly, you can try this one, but both are slow due to heavy load of graphics.

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A Century of Chinese Literature in Translation (1919–2019) English Publication and Reception

By Helen Wang, September 14, '20

A Century of Chinese Literature in Translation (1919–2019) English Publication and Reception
by Leah Gerber and Qi Lintao, published by Routledge, Sept 2020. ISBN 9780367321291

"Contributors from all around the world approach this theme from various angles, providing an overview of translation phenomena at key historical moments, identifying the trends of translation and publication, uncovering the translation history of important works, elucidating the relationship between translators and other agents, articulating the interaction between texts and readers and disclosing the nature of literary migration from Chinese into English."

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Let Paper Republic be safe, let Read Paper Republic be safe, let Sunday Sentence #1 be safe, let Sunday Sentence #2 be safe, let Sunday Sentence #3 be safe...

By Dylan Levi King, August 2, '20

The biggest story in Chinese literature this week is a book called Peace Mantra (or Peace Sutra, Classic of Peace—however you want to translate Ping’an Jing 平安经), written by He Dian 贺电, an officer with the Public Security Bureau in Jilin.

The South China Morning Post's Liu Zhen describes Peace Mantra like this: “The 336 pages of the book are covered only with variations of the sentence: ‘Let … be safe.’”

Let the train stations of China be safe

Let Beijing Station be safe, let Xi'an Station be safe, let Zhengzhou East Station be safe, let Shanghai Hongqiao Station be safe, let Hangzhou East Station be safe, let Guangzhou South Station be safe, let Nanjing South Station be safe, let Chengdu East Station be safe, let Beijing South Station be safe, let Tianjin West Station be safe, let Wuhan Station be safe, let West Kowloon Station be safe, let Hsinchu Station be safe.

An introduction explains: “The world needs peace. The nation needs stability. All industries require safety. The people yearn for tranquility.”

When news of the book and He Dian’s extensive promotion spread to social media, it was mocked and condemned. State media joined in with editorials.

It seems clear that there was some funny business. The book was priced at 299 RMB ($42 USD), which doesn’t sound that bad, but puts it at a price point about six or seven times what most books sell for. There were symposiums held to discuss it, and there were public readings.

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Contemporary Fiction from China: Must it Be Penned in Mandarin?

By Bruce Humes, August 1, '20

A few years back I posted a piece entitled A Resounding “Yes” to Mother-tongue Literature — but for Whom and about What?

(Caption: Tempête rouge --- an example of a novel translated direct from the Tibetan)

In this context, “mother-tongue” referred to indigenous languages other than Mandarin. This topic may be of interest to Paper Republicans who perceive “Chinese literature” as encompassing writing in Tibetan, Uyghur, Mongolian, as well as oral literature (口述文学) for peoples who do not have a script widely used in the PRC, such as the Evenki, Zhuang and many others.

In my essay, I posed this question: Who is going to write in their native language — or read what is written for that matter — if they cannot receive a decent education in it?

For full text --- including update on China's "bilingual" education policy in Inner Mongolia, Tibetan regions and Xinjiang -- visit here.

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一周一句 Sunday Sentence #8

By Jack Hargreaves, July 19, '20

For the final week of Sunday Sentence round one, we have the opening sentence of the as-yet untranslated 《六人晚餐》 (Dinner for Six) by Lu Min 鲁敏 (2012). Thanks to Emily Jones for the suggestion!
Please input your translation in the comments box at the bottom of the page.

The sentence to translate is:
所有的一切,不如就从厂区的空气说起。这空气,是酿造情感起源的酵母,也是腌制往事的色素与防腐剂。

Remember, you can post your translation anytime between now and next Sunday, so you have plenty of time to ponder and refine it.

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A Paper Republic shoutout from Nick Stember in the British Journal of China Studies

By Dylan Levi King, July 13, '20

"Sinophiles between Flatland, Fetish, and Feuilleton":

Despite (or because of) the increasingly fraught relationship between the Chinese- and English-speaking parts of the world, to my eyes anglophone Chinese studies today finds itself blessed with a wealth of voices, both within academia and without. Projects like the ever-excellent Chinese Storytellers newsletter, for example, highlight the all too often overlooked contributions of Chinese and Chinese American journalists to the political and social discourse; Reading the China Dream fills out the picture with an angle on the intellectuals; Neil Clarke and his merry band of pranksters over at Clarkesworld continue to bring much needed attention to Chinese science fiction (in addition to that of other languages); or Paper Republic (as of last year, a registered charity in the UK!) and the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing, which do the same for Chinese language fiction more broadly.

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Tao Yueqing was too busy at his day job to notice his translation of an American classic had been published

By Dylan Levi King, July 12, '20

A short time ago, the Paper 澎湃 ran an interview with Tao Yueqing 陶跃庆 about his work on On the Road, in which he explains what it teaches us about America, the afterlives of the book, and how gave up on translation for a day job. (《在路上》译者陶跃庆凯鲁亚克及其燃烧的时代.)

I’ll admit, I am jealous sometimes of our Chinese comrades. I understand it’s not glamorous work (it’s my job!), but a book like On the Road is not waiting out there for me—a book the publisher has to hustle to get it into a second, third, fourth printing, a book appearing in the rucksacks of disaffected urbanites for the next two decades, a book that I will be interviewed about thirty years later...

Tao Yueqing had no idea that he had just helped launch an American classic in Chinese translation. He took his half of the manuscript fee and went on with the rest of his life.

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一周一句 Sunday Sentence #7

By Jack Hargreaves, July 12, '20

This week's Sunday Sentence is something entirely different: Yeng Pway Ngon 英培安 inserts himself into the narrative on page 25 of 《骚动》(2002), translated by Jeremy Tiang as Unrest. Thank you to Jeremy for setting this week's challenge.

Please input your translation in the comments box at the bottom of the page.

The sentence to translate is:
我启动电脑的时候,小说的女主人翁和男主人翁正在床上。我的手指在键盘上犹疑了好一阵子,不能决定应该由我还是由他们其中一人来叙述这场性爱。无论如何,窥视小说主人翁的私生活是读者的权利,所以作为读者的你是可以看到的,床上的性活动正在进行中,男主人翁的状态似乎并不理想。

Remember, you can post your translation anytime between now and next Sunday, so you have plenty of time to ponder and refine it.

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Moment of Epiphany: What if Harold Bloom had been born in Shandong?

By Dylan Levi King, July 11, '20

The number of university creative writing programs in the United States has skyrocketed over the past four decades.

The MFA program and its influence irrevocably changed American literature.

The MFA program graduate came to dominate American (and to a lesser extent Canadian and UK literature), while most writers in China learned their trade the honest way, by reading theory and literature, then by turning out copy, and editing at whatever post they were assigned.

That might be about to change.

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一周一句 Sunday Sentence #6

By Jack Hargreaves, July 4, '20

This week's Sunday Sentence can be found on the first page of 《北妹》 by Sheng Keyi 盛可以 (2004), translated by Shelly Bryant as Northern Girls (2012).

Please input your translation in the comments box at the bottom of the page.

The sentence to translate is:
一米五五的样子,短发、带卷、蛋脸偏圆,基本上是良家民女的模样,嫁个男人安分守己生儿育女的胚子。遗憾的是,钱小红的胸部太大,即便不是钱小红的本意,也被毫无余地地划出良民圈子,与寡妇的门前一样多了事。

Remember, you can post your translation anytime between now and next Sunday, so you have plenty of time to ponder and refine it.

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